Friday, August 14, 2020


On Friday in the past we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world, ha...we haven't done one of those in a while but this week we'll expand to another random fun question that came up.

This week, the burning question is:

Last Friday, friend of the farm blog Leilani had a great idea for one and here it is.

I think no matter where you live, you have encountered these little bugs.  Usually under a rock in the yard or maybe a clay pot you pick up or even some old bricks in the ground.  Seems like they love those damp shady conditions.  These bugs always reminded me of a prehistoric creature and of course the best part (when you're a kid, ha), is that they roll up into a ball! 

2nd Man grew up calling them doodlebugs.  I grew up calling them a roly poly.  I heard a few people say pillbugs as well.  Not sure if there is a regional difference on this or if it's just what you hear first.

I would have them crawling all over my hand.  For some reason they didn't freak me out like other bugs.

So what do you call this little bug?  Doodlebug?  Roly Poly?  Pill bug?  Something else?

Wednesday, August 12, 2020


This is our new favorite way of making ribs that are fall off the bone tender without spending hours on the grill.  It's an amalgamation of several techniques but we've got it down now and the best thing is that it's so flexible for your own personal flavor profile. 

We've done them in a slow cooker before and while that works of course, this couldn't be any easier. 

Our local grocery store had baby back pork ribs on sale for cheap.  We got two racks (curbside pick up our favorite safer way of grocery shopping).  Here is where it's forgiving.  You can use whatever your favorite BBQ sauce is and whatever your favorite rub is.  In this case we used Sweet Baby Ray's "original" and some mesquite seasoning (for the smokey grilled flavor) and a spicy cajun seasoning rub.

After removing the silver skin (takes a bit of patience but a nice and some gentle pulling will remove it cleanly), rub the ribs generously with your seasoning of choice.  Be sure and put it on both sides.  Then put the rack of ribs in a pan (we had this disposable pan that worked perfectly for both racks) meaty side up.

I missed including the picture but here is where you do the next step...pour a can of coke (not diet) in the bottom of the pan.  Don't pour it over the ribs because it will wash off the rub.

Cover your pan tightly with foil and put in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours.  Do not take the foil off to peek.  It's doing its thing, ha.

Take them out and remove the foil to check them.  They should be falling off the bone tender but you're not done yet.  Turn the oven up to 450 degrees.

While it is heating up, brush the ribs with your BBQ sauce.  Just the exposed top side.  Be as liberal with it as you prefer.

Leave it uncovered and put it in the oven for another 20 to 30 minutes.  You want the sauce to bake on and for them to start to develop color.

Take them out and serve.  SO good.  Falling off the bone tender and sticky, smoky, saucy.

We love this method now.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020


Everyone probably saw the "goat incident" post from last week.  A neighbor's goats got out and ate all the leaves off several trees and broke a few branches on several trees trying to reach for more leaves.

The goats were returned home, the fence was fixed and things are returning to normal.  

I went through and trimmed the broken branches and checked everything.  I also gave them a good deep watering.  They are looking much better now.

The leaves are growing back so we guess the leaf eating doesn't hurt the tree.  This is the Meyer lemon, leaves are coming out all over.

Here is one of the two apple trees and it is leafing out (oops, ignore the lack of weed eating, see yesterday's post about that, LOL).

The lime tree is leafing out and has a couple of flower blossoms on it so we guess it's really bouncing back.

Side note, the aroma of those two flowers is just intoxicating.  We can't imagine a large tree bloomed out all over in the Spring, it must be amazing.

Then this was the other apple tree (the Anna) that had the most damage (they REALLY liked this one) all the leaves were stripped off and several branches broken.  I cut off the broken branches to clean it up but wow it's almost completely leafed out again. 

The neighbor fixed the fence so we should be good with that.  I know some of you were concerned about the neighbor and the situation.  He has been pretty good, we've never had any issues and he has kept the fence line maintained most of the time.  We've done some repairs a couple of times over the years as well.  Most of the fence line from the road to the back touches 2nd Family's property.  Our part is much shorter, maybe 100 feet?  Easy for us to keep an eye on our part and 2nd Family is going to keep an eye on their part.

The neighbor has had goats and donkeys and a cow or two for years and this is, as far as we know, a first.  We've had some cows in the yard a few times, once from a rear neighbor and a couple times from the neighbor on the OTHER side.

We guess we'll just have to get used to that potential and of course walking the fence line fairly often would probably be a good idea.  The good thing is while I'm on the mower I can check most of it since I ride right beside almost all parts of it.  I'll just have to be even more observant, ha.

In the future we may fence in the fruit tree area with something more permanent just to be safe. 

As some of you commented,

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors!

Monday, August 10, 2020


Well it was as I suspected.  The grass was really high.  Still not the highest ever (that was after our almost month of rain a couple of seasons ago), but it was probably a close second or third.  Sigh.

I got the mower out of the shed and started mowing about 10:15am.

Two hours later I was done.  This was another near record length mowing time.  Love this app to keep track of these things from year to year.

It looked good when I was done.  A couple of you mentioned that I we might have it set a bit too low.  I bumped it up a bit.  Still short but with the possibility of having to miss a mow some weekend because of rain, still short enough not to make things so bad.  Someday, when we're out there full time, mowing will become more regular, a couple times a week a little at a time so that it's not so much at once.

This was at 2pm.  I had mowed and watered the trees and moved some stuff around from the barn to the shed.  I also checked the fence line but it was just so hot (feels like 103) I was done.  August is the one month a year when we really just do the least amount we have to outside.  The humidity just drains you.  I was going to edge but again, least amount possible and I just didn't have it in me.

No homeowners association to complain, no neighbors to ask why, no curb appeal yard of the month to worry about and I don't have to post THOSE pictures here, LOL, so I skipped it.  Hoping this weekend I won't have to mow and I can edge and that will be the "least" for this weekend, ha.

I noticed this banana spider (also called golden orb spider) on the porch had a wasp that it had captured for its next meal.  We're OK with that. 

And here's some truth right here.  There were a few times when the sun went behind the clouds and I sighed with relief.

Alas, shade is fleeting. 

Hope you had a good weekend, tomorrow a fruit tree update after the "goat incident".

Sunday, August 9, 2020


It's a lazy day around here.  Yesterday was the farm.  It was hot.  Update on that tomorrow.  Today it's even hotter.  Our "feels like" (temp + humidity) is 105 degrees.  Good day to stay in where it's cool.

Hobart is sleeping (post catnip high) on his blanket using his toy as a pillow.  Yeah it's a rough life when you are one of our cats, ha.

I brought some fresh rosemary back from the farm and we cut up some lemons (can't wait until they are our own lemons) and stuffed a couple of chickens.

They are roasted now but since we had breakfast while they were cooking, we'll save one for later today and then we'll take the meat off the other, vacuum seal and save for future use.

Stay cool, we're trying...

Friday, August 7, 2020


On Friday in the past we have done a "Friday Food Debate" where we tackle some of the burning questions of the culinary world, ha...we haven't done one of those in a while but this week we'll expand to another random fun question that came up.

This week, the burning question is:

After the fun one question last week (fireflies or lightning bugs) we found another fun one this week. The machine that dispenses water in stores and businesses and know, you're thirsty and you ask "excuse me do you all have a......"?

WATER FOUNTAIN or DRINKING FOUNTAIN?  Or heck in some areas of the country people call them BUBBLERS (2nd Man had heard of that but I've never heard that, at least that I can remember, ha).

As for us here, it is water fountain. 2nd Man and I grew up here and that's all we've ever called it.   

Another fascinating thing that is regional in usage.  You can see the map above shows where they are most prevalent.  Some areas overlap a bit.

So what do YOU call that water dispensing machine? Team water fountain?  Team water machine?  Team bubbler?

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


This is a pretty easy casserole but it's SO good.  It's basically like eating a sloppy joe.  Meat and sauce, cheese and instead of hamburger buns, tater tots!  There are a dozen versions floating around, some one layer, others with other add ins, but this is how we do it and keep it simple:


1 32 oz pkg of tater tots (for some reason there is the exact right amount for a two layer 8x8 dish)
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 can sloppy joe sauce (or equivalent homemade)
1 lb (give or take a bit) ground beef

Brown the ground beef and drain...

Add the sauce and heat up as normal...

Meanwhile, in a greased 8x8 dish, line the bottom with tater tots...

Pour the sloppy joe mix over the top...

Put 1 cup of the shredded cheese over the mixture...

Cover that with another layer of tots...

And finish off by topping it with the remaining cup of shredded cheese...

Place in 350 degree oven for 45-55 minutes or until cheese is golden and tots are browned...

And here it is out of the oven.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes to cool down a bit...

Dish it up and serve!  It's so good and makes for really great leftovers the next day.  It's not something you'd eat every day of course but hey, for some nice comfort food or a quick meal, you can't beat it.  Very easy and freezes well too!

Stay safe and eat well!

Tuesday, August 4, 2020


An update from yesterday's blog post 
(which if you missed, just CLICK HERE).

Here is just one of the pictures of the damage.  This is the plum tree.  Some goats (pics of the guilty party in yesterday's post) got loose from a neighbors property and feasted on some of our fruit trees, being small enough to slip in under the fishing line.  Or maybe they just don't spook as easily as deer do when they touch the line.

I spoke with 2nd Family and it turns out they were struck as well.  They didn't know they had made it down to our end so they hadn't checked our trees (and they are on the backside of the house and not visible from the front).  The goats ate one of their rose bushes to the ground, all of their strawberries, some garden plants and herbs and branches from their apple tree too!

They got the goats rounded up and back through the fence and then temporarily patched it.  They called the neighbor and told him and he said he'd be out the next day to fix it.  He didn't.  They called two more times and he still didn't fix it.  So they called the sheriff and the sheriff called the neighbor.

He came and fixed the fence.

No more goats.

We hope. 

Honestly in the years out there, we've never had any of this neighbor's animals make it through the fence so hopefully this was a one off moment.  This weekend, I'm going to check the fence along our part of the property line just to make sure.

It's always something.

Monday, August 3, 2020


 So it was a dark and stormy....oh wait.  Ok, it rained.  After the washout last weekend, most of the week was much better...until Thursday evening and Friday evening and Saturday morning...

...well this was the radar when I decided to go ahead and head to the farm.  The farm is the pinned dot in the radar image above.  But they were moving East and away from the farm so I figured I could beat it before the next round.  Of course I knew I couldn't mow because we had gotten fairly heavy rain Friday night and then again Saturday morning.

When I got there, it was moving out but more coming later in the day.  Sure enough, a lot of standing water.  As you can see the grass is green now and needed mowing, I just have to hope that this coming weekend won't be too bad...

The reason I went was as usual, just to check on things, make sure all was OK.  90% of the time, everything is good.  But this time...

(Please ignore the out of control grass in and around the beds in the following pictures, had it been dry, the pictures would have been taken AFTER mowing and edging, ha)

...I rounded the corner of the house and saw this branch from one of the pear trees in the yard.  WHAT???

Then this on one of the apple trees!

And this on the OTHER apple tree!

And finally, one of the plum trees...sigh. 

Near as we can tell, something got into the fenced area.  There have been deer but they are larger and wouldn't be able to get into the fenced area without ripping down all the fishing line and probably pulling over a pole or two.  The mystery deepened.

We only have one trail cam right now and it's focused on the front yard.  But I decided to swap out the memory cards anyway and see what's on there that might give us a clue.  


They have to be the culprits.  These belong to the neighbors on the side of us.  I didn't know about this until I got home and checked the photos, it's from the 20th, last time there was the 19th.  I called 2nd Family and "R" is going to go check the fence line and see where they got in.  I was going to have a post coming up about all the leaves being eaten off the lemon tree a couple of weeks back.  We figured a caterpillar.  In retrospect it was probably these mischief makers.  

Notice the apple trees above, there are not many leaves on them.  I didn't even think about that until I examined the pictures again.  There was one section of fishing line on the bottom row that was missing for the last few weeks.  I noticed it the last time I was out there there but the fishing line I had brought back into town and forgot to bring it with me.  I wasn't worried because it was the lowest part and about knee high for a deer.  I didn't foresee goats.

The thinking is one or more got in and ate what they could reach and then probably pulled on higher up branches and broke them since they were pulled downward.  There was one additional fishing line snapped and that probably happened as they left.

Ugh.  We hope the fence gets patched up.  I am going to add a few extra rows of fishing line this weekend when I mow. And edge. And clean out the beds.  A full weekend for sure, weather permitting. 

Now I'm tired thinking about it...and it's only Monday...